DVI Cable Buying Guide

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The different types of DVI connectors

Choosing a DVI cable will depend on whether you need to connect digital or analogue signals, or both. There are three types of DVI connection – DVI Digital (DVI-D), DVI-Integrated (DVI-I) and DVI-Analogue (DVI-A).


DVI-D Cables

These cables are able to provide a much faster and higher image quality that the analogue type. This is because of the nature of the digital signal.


DVI-A Cables

These cables can carry an analogue signal to the DVI-A input of a display adaptor. The analogue signals are usually the same for VGA & DVI-A. However, there may be some loss of quality owing to the conversion from digital to analogue. Note that these cables are not common as VGA to VGA cables are used more often with the VGA to DVI adaptors.


DVI-I Cables

These types of DVI connectors are able to carry signals that are digital to digital or analogue to analogue. This functionality to be able to work with various DVI ports makes it a far more versatile option than any of the others.


What about format interchange?

Remember that DVI analogue and DVI digital formats aren’t interchangeable. This means that A DVI-D cable won’t work on the analogue systems and the DVI-A cable won’t work with a digital system. If you want to connect an analogue source to the digital display, then you will require a VGA to DVI-D electronic converter. If you want to connect a digital output to the analogue display, then you will require a DVI-D to VGA electronic converter.


Digital Formats

Single link and dual link are the two digital formats that are available. There is a total of 4 cables that carry any digital signals that are available – such as DVI-D Single Link, DVI-Single Link, DVI-D Dual Link and DVI-I Dual Link.

A single link cable can carry about 165MHz bandwidth and the dual link can double this up to 330MHz. Note that the single link displays a 1920 x 1200 resolution while the DVI dual link is able to display a stunning resolution of 2560 x 1600.


Consider the Cable Length

Commonly the maximum length for cables with digital signals would be about 10 meters for the single link and about 5 meters for a dual link. It is possible to get lengthier cables but then you will also need to use DVI boosters.

Note that the signals present on PCs or Macs are usually initially generated in a digital format. So, the right connection to any flat panel display would be via a DVI-D lead which is connected to a HDMI input via an adaptor or the digital input of the DVI-D display input.

You may sometimes find that two DVI cables with the exact same features have different prices. The expense of the cable doesn’t really make a difference. More than anything what you really need to think about is to find out what kind of DVI port your computer or television has. Decide how much clarity and quality you will need. These are the most important factors.


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